Walking food tours and Vancouver fall weather go together like sugarless gummy bears and bowels - a painful experience. Curse those gummy bears! However, for my invite to Vanfoodster's Tasting Plates West 4th Edition, the skies couldn't have been any bluer. With a stroke of good luck, the weather cleared up despite a week of wet and coldness. I met up with Miss Y, Grace, Alvin, Sean, Adrian & Jeremy, Amy and Diane for a whole lot of food along 4th Ave. which didn't included sugarless gummy bears...
We hightailed it to The BiBo as our first stop because they were doing a pizza making demonstration featuring their wood burning oven. We were served 2 different pizzas including the Margherita and Ortolana. The margherita, being the standard was simply tomato sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. Unlike the last time I was here, the crust was appreciably less wet and exhibited a nice chewiness. The ortolana consisted of eggplant, zucchini and red pepper. Naturally, it exhibited more moisture due to the ingredients. As a bonus, we had their Baked Pizza Bread with tomato sauce and fresh basil. These were pillowy soft with just the right amount of tart sauce and Parm.
Heading up the block, we visited Romer's Burger Bar next. Admittedly, I was a bit apprehensive after my recent meal at the Kerr Street location. Fortunately, the brioche bun used for both burgers was a bit more moist. I gave the Magic Mushroom with Angus beef, portobello, caramelized onions, Boursin and wild baby arugula a go first. I've had this burger before and it was more or less the same. The meat was neither moist nor dry while the mushrooms were plentiful and sauteed nicely. Next up was the So-Cal Free Range Turkey with avocado, Soleggiatti tomatoes, red onion, organic watercress and chipotle aioli. Naturally, the patty wasn't the juiciest, but it wasn't too dry either. I liked the spicy kick of the aioli.
We ditched Alvin (he was still waiting for his food) and made our way to our next destination which was Las Margaritas. Gosh, I hadn't been there in ages due to a mediocre experience. It started off nicely with the Tortilla Chips. They were light and crispy, however, the overprocessed salsa was not my cup of tea. We were served 3 items including the Cochinita Pibil Tostada, Chicken Taquito and Scallop Ceviche. (clockwise from the bottom right). I liked the tostada but there was a bit too much lettuce for my tastes. Despite that, it was crunchy and the roasted pork had an almost smoky quality to it while the pickled onions added the necessary acidity. The taquito was crisp and the addition of fresh guacamole was a welcomed buttery moisture (is that a legit description? LOL). With a nice buttery texture, the scallop ceviche was a little light on the acidity, but it did have a nice spice level.
Walking across the street, we went to Doner Kebab. Presented on a lovely Royal Chinet plate, there was a selection of eats including Pita Bread, Tabouleh, Hummus and Falafel. Not that it is uncommon, but I would've liked my pita bread warmed up as it was cold and stiff. That was partially alleviated by the smooth hummus. I would've liked a bit more garlic and lemon though. The falafel was fantastic as it was crunchy, hot and moist inside. Miss Y wanted a palate cleanser, so we went to O5 Rare Tea Bar next. We were treated to Jamaican Candied Hibiscus Flower, Ghorka Kombucha Tea and a Premium Fresh Ground Matcha Shot. Interesting in texture, the chewy flower was quite sweet. With 3 choices of kombucha, I liked the Golden Curls the most as it had a pronounce fizz. Matching its dark green hue, the matcha shot was rich and smooth.
Sauntering over to Jacksons Meats and Deli next door, we were presented with a really large Finnochio Sausage. No, it didn't grow like Pinnochio's nose (er...), but it was meaty and licoricey from all the fennel. I would've liked it grilled, however, I'm sure they prepared it this way due to the event. It didn't stop there though. We had 2 more samples including the Split Pea & Jackson's Irish Ham Soup and Braised Short Ribs. I thought the soup was quite good with a understated richness. It was smooth and mild where the ham added the necessary saltiness. My favourite had to be the short ribs as it was fatty and soft. The slow cooked meat was soaked in a impactful braising liquid which had depth and enough seasoning.
Waddling over to our last 2 stops, we ended up at Culprit Coffee Co first. Along with my Espresso Macchiato, there was a plate of gluten-free goodies including baguette with house-made Raspberry Chia Jam, White Chocolate and Honey Pecan Brittle Cookie with Maldon Sea Salt and a Chocolate Raspberry Financier. Loved the jam, hated the baguette as it was "wet" textured. The cookie was fantastic being crunchy and sweet with just the right amount of salt. The financier was no slouch either as it was fairly moist and only semi-sweet. Our last stop was the Guanaco Food Truck. From their selection, I had the Chorizo Pupusa with Fried Cassava. I really liked the cassava as it was super-fried, which was a good thing as it was crunchy. The pupusa was not bad being soft and full of meat. At this point, I was in a food coma, much like all the other Tasting Plates I've been to. Sure, there were some things that were better than others, yet for the early bird price of $28.00 or $30.00 for 6 pack, it's a good value.
*All food and beverages were comped, but not gratuities*
- If you get either the early bird or group pricing, it's a good value
- Lots of different things to try
- Good social event
- Weather dependent
- Some spots can be really packed or cannot handle the volume of customers
- If you do not buy the discounted tickets, well naturally it decreases the value.